I am interested in creating online material to provide learners with more flexibility, give me the opportunity to flip my classroom, and finally to consider my audience beyond the US. Here at Emory, many of the learners who attend ELSP are also pursuing their PhD or are research employees. It would benefit them greatly to have certain activities or whole courses online so they do not have to travel to attend class. Additionally, I would like to spend less time teaching certain grammar or organizational points and more time practicing and using them when we have time together. I believe those focused lectures could exist online with ease. Finally, it cannot be ignored that much of my population is not here in the US. I would like to reach learners all over the globe and assist them with academic English.
I think there are a few areas that I can perform well taking my experiences into consideration. In Van de Vord and Pogue (2012) instructors reported feeling surprised at the amount of time needed to deliver student feedback within the online environment. For me, this is the norm. Within my field instructors to provide focused individual feedback on almost every speaking and writing event. Each learner will experience variations in their language development, and as the instructor we must respond in relation to the language objectives set forth in that particular task. Although we do not fix all the grammar errors, as you might imagine, we may spend an hour on one paper addressing organization, word choice, tone, and clarity.
An additional instructor concern, illustrated in Lin and Dyer (2012), addressed student survival and learning capacity within the online environment. Understandably this thought has crossed our minds as we experience our own learning curve within this course. Interestingly enough, we are experiencing firsthand the solution proposed in Lin and Dyer (2012) where the online instructor is omnisciently present though the “Ask the Instructor” discussion forum. As learners we feel assured and supported though this simple feature. Other factors such as the video tutorials and exploratory phase of the curriculum allowed us to smoothly move into the online learning space. Personally, I hope to pull from my skills in scaffolding information to achieve a similar structured environment where students are successful.
I also see opportunities to create dynamic experiences though Content Based Instruction. This method of creating curriculum has been in the ESL field for a number of years. At its core, curriculum is developed so language learning is facilitated through an extended topic. It would be useful to create a content based course focused on technology. This would provide the framework to address some of the technical needs of the students and give rise to simulating topics as the course progressed.
An area of concern for me revolves on my reliance to spontaneously address misunderstandings. Although I could articulate my appreciation for tutorial videos and discussion forms above as a learner, I still feel concern as an instructor. Lin and Dyer (2012) illustrate this reality when describing the role instructor’s play beyond simply delivering content. This general description rings true when I reflect on how aspects of non-verbal feedback, empathetic movement, and paralinguistic sounds ( i.e. the verbal sounds or tones we add to convey meaning) pay a role in a successful language learning classroom. This is in addition to the overwhelming literature on the importance of social interaction when learning a new language. Solutions for this may include heavy use of tools like Voicethread and Adobeconnect. Google hangouts might also be useful tool as students could see when other learners were around so they could work together. I can also imagine the a chat function being very useful with lots of positive feedback from the instructor on a regular basis.
Lin H, Dyer K, Guo Y. (2012) Exploring online teaching: A three-year composite journal of concerns and strategies from online instructors. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. 15(3).
Van de Vord R, Pogue K. (2012). Teaching time investment: Does online really take more time than face-to-face?. International Review of Research on Open And Distance Learning. 13(3). 132-146.